View Full Version : Steelers-Broncos notebook: Mendenhall credits offensive line success in 28-10 win.

11-10-2009, 09:45 PM
Steelers-Broncos notebook: Mendenhall credits offensive line success in 28-10 win.
November 10, 1:43 PMPittsburgh Sports Examiner
Matt Pawlikowski

DENVER - He fumbled the ball during the Vikings game when he was in the Red zone. He did it the week prior against the Browns. But instead of sending him to the bench, Steeler coach Mike Tomlin stood behind his young back.

His response against the Broncos stingy defense during the Steelers 28-10 win? How about a 100 yard game. He punished the Denver defense with his counter plays and ended the night with 155 yards on the ground. He had runs of 22 and 25 yards during the game and showed why the Steelers utilized the first pick of the 2008 draft on him.

"He had some great runs tonight," Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. "The sky is the limit for him."

Mendenhall took no credit for his runs credited his offensive line for the night he had.

"Those guys took a a lot of heat early in the season, but you see them doing their thing now," Mendenhall said. "They have not gotten enough credit."

Closing time - Steeler coach Mike Tomlin has preached all season about situational football and being able to close out football games, which early in the year the team had trouble doing. Against the Broncos, who where 6-1 entering the game, the Steelers did just that and then some.

"It's about getting better, we are a developing team," Tomlin said. " We have to continue to be a team on the rise and its about getting better and it is better than it was in September."

Had the Steelers been able to close games out in the fourth quarter back then, they could very well be 8-0 as both losses to Chicago and the Bengals were by three points each.

Dawkins vs Polamalu - They are perhaps the best safeties in the game of football. While Dawkins had a nice game for the Broncos, and statistically had more tackles five to Polamalu's 3. But Polamalu was once again all over the football field disrupting the offense and had a key interception of Kyle Orton late in the game.

Brett Keisel - Of the defensive players he is perhaps the most underrated. But when it comes to play, there is a reason the Steelers gave him an extension during training camp. Against the Broncos, he had two big sacks and was constantly pressuring Kyle Orton.

Ben Roethlisberger - His ability to extend the play outside the pocket proved to be the difference maker, especially when he found Mike Wallace for a 25 yard score on a third and ten play from the Denver 25. But his poise under pressure is impeccable and second to none. Case in point. After trying to buy some time, he was stripped of the ball by Kenny Patterson who took the ball

"He's a six year pro and he's a competitor, he didn't blink, that just speaks of the kind of competitor he is." Tomlin said.

Kyle Orton - He was intercepted once in his first seven games. It was a different story against the Steelers. He was pressured the entire game and tossed three interceptions.

"We win and lose as a team, we had a great week of practice everyone was focused," Orton said. "When you play those guys the margin of error is low."

Willie Colon and Trai Essex - You have to love the way they cleared holes for Mendenhall. The two along with the rest of the line gave Roethlisberger a good deal of time to throw the football. They say football is won in the trenches and against the Broncos it played a huge role on the outcome of the game.

"We realize we have to take it one game at a time and that no one is going to lay down for us because we are the Steelers," Colon said. ' We have a clear understanding that when he has time to do what he does, he's pretty much unstoppable."

Laying down the Law - That's right, signed just days prior to the game, Alliquippa native son Ty Law did a great job in coverage for the Broncos. He seemed to confuse the Steeler wide outs especially at times when he was one on one with Hines Ward.

" That is what they brought me in for," Law said. " I just had to do what I do and stick to what I know. I was tyring to go out there and do the best I can on such short notice. Overall I'm pretty happy."

Berger blunders again - Remember last year how Mitch Berger always kept one on their seat at Heinz Field? Well the recently signed Berger was at it again, this time for the Broncos. Last night he had a long of 50 yards, but his net was a terrible 33.4.

" We'll take a look at the film and see if there is anything," Denver coach Josh McDaniels said. " I know there were a couple of short punts there, I know he did some good things tonight, too. We'll take a look at everything tomorrow morning."

Meaning it could be the end of Berger's days in the NFL, yet again. Since being signed two weeks ago, Berger has 15 punts for a dismal 38.5 yards and a 34.6 net average, something many high school kids attain on a weekly basis. Last year with the Steelers he had a 41.3 yard average.and 36.4 net.

Noise factor - It seemed to have an effect on the Steelers, especially early in the game. But when the Steelers went into the muddle offense, which is a version of the no-huddle Roethlisberger took over the tempo of the game. By the middle of the third quarter, the hostile crowd seemed more like one at Heinz Field as the terrible towels were waving and the cheers for the black and gold loud.

A wise man once said... - Josh McDaniels had the Broncos running a bunch of different packages early in the game. Dick LeBeau also had the Steelers defense doing the same. So it was the veteran verse the rookie and in the end the wise man prevailed.

"That is a very well coached football team," McDaniels said. "They took over the game in the second half. We tried to come after them a few times, but they stayed balanced and we didn't have that and it was a key to the game."

Asked about his defense, Tomlin had this to say.

" We have guys here that are designed to be great," Tomlin said. " They play hard every time they come out regardless of their opponent or story line if you will. Those guys are committed to being great every time they step in the stadium."

Galax Steeler
11-11-2009, 03:58 AM
It was a combination of the offensive line and Mendenhall. They opened up some running lanes for him but I also saw him break some tackles and get some extra yards. He has the power to break a tackle at any giving time.

11-11-2009, 08:15 AM
Credit where credit is due.

Mendenhall DID get around those corners though. :thumbsup:

El-Gonzo Jackson
11-11-2009, 11:05 AM
The Steeler O line outweighed the Donkeys d front big time. This was also the first time in a long time that I saw them seemingly running downfield and blocking with enthusiasm. Also, I rewatched the 1st half and Heath Miller IS THE BEST BLOCKING TE IN THE NFL!!!! Miller handled Dumervil alone several times, while Dumervil put Matt Spaeth on his butt one play.

Mendenhall has the quick change of pace and burst to get around the edge and to other holes. He is like a mix between a slower Ladanian Tomlinson and a smaller Eggerin James. The O line got 1/2 those yards, Rushard got the rest.

11-11-2009, 11:16 AM
It was amazing seeing the Steeler O tear through the Bronco Defense effortlessly in the second half. The strip sack fumble gave Denver the lead. What does Ben do? Gets his team together. Takes them right back down the field and scores in no time at all.

tony hipchest
11-11-2009, 11:20 AM

i didnt notice it until the highlights, but on rashards long run to the left and moores 12 yarder to the right, heath was lined up as the fb/h-back and laid some wicked lead blocks. :thumbsup:

it will really be a shame if he is not recognized and rewarded with his first trip to the pro bowl.